Toll Free: (800) 690-7887t: (604) 886-7300f: (604) 886-7301
Experience the First Nations culture of the Kwakwaka'wakw in Alert Bay. Get up close with the whales and unique marine environment onboard an expedition boat.
Daily departures based on self-drive and minimum 2 personsBest time to visit (May - September)
Tour cost: $ 650 CAD
Customized departures available from Vancouver for groups of 10 or more persons - ask for details!
DAY 1: ARRIVE PORT MCNEILL (D)Vancouver Island is a unique and beautiful jewel decorating the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. Self-drive the length of the island to the remote Northern community of Port McNeill (5-6 hour drive). Enroute discover diverse island communities nestled between the mountains and the ocean shore and scenic vistas. On arrival, settle in to the Haida-Way Inn for the next 3 nights. Dinner. DAY 2: WHALES, SEALS & BIRDS (B,L)Breakfast at the hotel. A full day of wildlife activities aboard an expedition boat. Johnstone Strait is a narrow passage that separates Vancouver Island from the mainland. The Strait is set amongst steep fjords, small islands and lush rainforest with old growth red cedar and Sitka spruce up to 1000 years old. Subsurface upwellings and penetrating ocean currents result in a rich marine environment that is home to five species of salmon, numerous sea birds, Orca, minke and humpback whales, several species of dolphin, black bear, harbour seals and stellar's sea lions. This area is best known as the world's prime Orca viewing region. We will search for resident and transient pods of Orcas as well as resident pods of killer whales (These whales usually come to feed in July to early October). Other wildlife in the area at that time of year includes humpback whales, Steller sea lions, harbour seals, huge numbers of sea birds and bald eagles, and perhaps some Pacific white-sided dolphins. This time of the year is also great for birds. Binoculars are a must! We will include natural history interpretation. All of our tours will be educational in content. Participants are taught to identify general marine mammal species. Lunch included. Return to our lodging. Dinner on own. DAY 3: FIRST NATIONS CULTURE (B,L,D)Breakfast at the hotel. Prepare for a very active day with plenty of walking and discovery. 8:15 am. We will walk to the ferry dock for a 8:45 am departure on BC Ferries 45-minute crossing to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. This crescent shaped island is located in the region known as the beautiful Inside Passage, and is set amidst splendid scenery and abundant wildlife. Alert Bay is historically significant as the oldest First Nations community on North Vancouver Island, and is well known as a centre for the powerful resurgence of Native culture. We will visit the U'mista Cultural Centre, an internationally known facility that houses a fine collection of historical artifacts depicting the Potlatch Ceremony of the Kwakwaka'wakw. Walk amongst the totems and cultural centre of U'Mista. Hosted traditional lunch.
After lunch stroll along the boardwalk at Ecological Park. The park is an ecological treasure trove of sights and sounds and a paradise for bird-watchers and botanists. A series of trails wind around the forest area and the boardwalk crosses the marsh, allowing visitors a close view of the swamp's ecosystem. Cedar snags, hemlocks and pine trees draped with moss provide an eerie charm and beauty.
The Kwakwaka'wakw have been instrumental in spearheading a movement to reclaim their birthright to traditional art, dances, songs, legends, ceremonies, and language. After our walk, we will have the opportunity to hear the origin story of the people, legends from the past, and finally shown a selected number of traditional dances (Big house ceremonies may not coincide with all visits). Depart at approximately 5:00pm for a walk to the ferry terminal and journey back to Port McNeill. DAY 4: PORT MCNEILL DEPARTURE (B)Check out of lodgings at Port McNeil and continue with your Vancouver island sightseeing.
Toll Free: (800) 690-7887(604) 886-7300 Fax: (604) 886-7301
1114 Cartwright RoadGibsons, BCV0N 1V1Canada